PHILLIPS COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Phillips County jail has shut down.
Darrell Winston with the Sheriff's Office told THV 11 News that the county decided to close it because of deteriorating conditions.
The sheriff would not allow cameras inside the jail to grab a glimpse of the deterioration, but he said the wear-and-tear on the 30-year-old building is to blame for the conditions and that the jail is not as up-to-date as it should be. He said it's just not safe to continue operations there.
Around 60 inmates have been relocated to other facilities. Eighteen Phillips County Jail employees were laid off-half full-time, half part-time.
"No, it's not good because we don't have a lot of jobs in Phillips County, and that's kind of the bad part of it, and having the people having to go home, and hopefully, they can draw unemployment until they can find something, and hopefully, we can get it back open as quick as possible, hopefully," explained County Judge Don Gentry.
The county has hired consultants to look at the jail and find out what can be done; they will present their findings a quorum court meeting May 14. Those possibilities could include renovating the existing facility or building a new one.